You Can Rent Me, but I’m Not for Sale!

I am a full-time missionary and have been for seven years. I work for Steiger International, an organization dedicated to reaching young people outside the church, and helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Working in music and the arts, I interact mostly with twenty-somethings. And although stepping into full-time ministry holds its challenges for everyone, I’ve noticed some unique barriers that the millennial generation is facing. I have found that for this demographic, the chasm between inspiration and action tends to be perilous and sadly, few manage to successfully navigate it.

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.

Website: www.steiger.org/benpierce


My heart in writing this is not to add to the millennial bashing that seems in vogue - after all, I am (just barely) part of this generation myself. I rather hope to shed light on some of the struggles, and encourage young followers of Jesus that it is possible to overcome them.

As with so many things in life, awareness is the first step to correction; if you aren't aware of it, you can't fix it.

What follows is part one of a blog series devoted to what I see as the main obstacles to millennials becoming effective, full-time missionaries.

Living in the moment is an anthem for young people today. This mentality produces a suspicion of committing to anything that leads too far into the future. Instead, twenty somethings see life as a series of short adventures, not needing to connect the dots or head in any particular direction.

In the Christian world, we call these intervals “seasons.” While it is relatively easy to get a millennial to sign up for a volunteer position or a short-term trip, it always seems to come with the subconscious assumption that this season will be brief - perhaps six months, rarely more. At its conclusion, whether spoken or assumed, millennials will feel entitled to re-evaluate their position, and will likely step into something entirely different.

I have come across many young Christians who hop from one experience to the next, often doing so well into their twenties.

In my experience, it is very unusual to find a young Christian who is inspired by a cause, considers the cost, and then commits to it indefinitely. In fact, the very word indefinitely seems to induce a gag reflex in those born in the mid 80’s or later.

Sadly, many millennials view missions like casual dating, rather than marriage: something fun, experientially fulfilling, but not requiring significant commitment. Not surprisingly, this perspective is of little value to the often underfunded and understaffed ministries that are desperately trying to meet a particular need.

A noncommittal millennial gains little from short-term involvement that is not sustained long enough to yield fruit in both their personal lives and the task they are working to accomplish. The result is ministries that find themselves in a never-ending recruiting cycle, often wasting considerable resources and energy.

To clarify, not everyone in ministry needs to be full time to contribute in a valuable way, nor does this describe every young person today. The ministry I am involved in is sustained, in large part, due to our army of volunteers, many of them in the early twenties. And yet the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few (Matthew 9:37), leading me to believe that while not all, certainly more millennials are called to go all in.

Yet today, it's all about short-term and season to season. Long gone are the old-school days of missionaries packing their belongings in a coffin and boarding a boat, knowing that their work would end only when their lives did. That’s pretty hardcore, but if I have learned anything in ministry and life, it’s that half-measures accomplish nothing. We understand this in sports, in relationships, and even in secular vocations, so why not in ministry?

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). I think if we are honest with ourselves, our reluctance to commit to something has less to do with compatibility or calling, and more the secular mindset. There is nothing more revered in our time than personal autonomy. We are told all day long that life is about fulfilling our desires and controlling our destiny. Giving our lives to anything, or anyone other than ourselves, is antithetical to the spirit of our age.

We have to recognize this pattern of our day, and actively fight it. We should not be surprised when our enemy perverts the truth, attempting to convince us to buy into a mentality that promises freedom but delivers an unfruitful life.

The truth is, someone who spends their whole life avoiding commitment will wake up one day no longer young, having accomplished nothing of significance, and filled with regret.

By contrast, the young follower of Jesus who gives everything - not for a season, but completely and without an exit strategy - will experience the incredible providential power of a God whose desire is to strongly support those whose hearts are fully His (2 Chronicles 16:9).

It is only then that they will make an eternal difference in a world that desperately needs it.

Related items

  • Episode 81: Can Moral Failure Disqualify Us From Ministry? Is it Possible to Lose God’s Anointing?

    Can sin disqualify us from ministry? How do we deal with people in leadership when they have a big moral failure?

    With all four regulars back, they dive into this intense subject and tackle these difficult questions. They also get really specific and share exactly the kind of words you should use when presenting the Gospel outside of the church.

    Oh and...David shares some beauty tips that will change your life!

    Relevant links to this episode:

    Andy Savage accusations: bit.ly/2mM590e

  • Artist Interview: No Longer Music

    No Longer Music (NLM) is an evangelistic music and theater production led by David Pierce, the founder of Steiger International. For over thirty years, NLM has used the stage to communicate the Gospel of Jesus all over the world.

    This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, Ben Pierce, the lead vocalist of No Longer Music. Ben is also the director of Come&Live! and host of the Provoke & Inspire podcast. He shared about NLM’s vision and what makes them different from other bands.

  • A Vision of Biblical Proportions
    And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. - Exodus 36:2-7
  • Episode 80: Should Sports Be Able to Make a Grown Man Weep?

    What is it about men in tights throwing a ball that can cause people to weep, climb poles, or burn down a city? Is devotion to sports an unchallenged idol in Christian culture?

    While David, Chad and Ben discuss these questions Luke is apparently still being dragged around Poland by a pony.

    Related links to this episode:

    Revolutionary book: steiger.org/news/books

  • Our Weakness, His Power!

    One second I was talking with my dad and Valery (one of Steiger’s Ukrainian missionaries), and an instant later, it felt as though a bomb had gone off. Stunned and covered in debris, it was hard to process what had just happened. We were on tour in Brazil with No Longer Music, and our driver had gotten into a lane not intended for the height of our bus. Traveling at well over 60 miles per hour, we smashed into a horizontal steel beam, knocking our air conditioning unit clean off the bus’s roof.

    I had never experienced a more violent moment in my whole life.

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